A Social Network Analysis Approach for Contact Tracing in the Hospital Setting

Ostovari M, Jurkovitz C, Pachter L, Chen D

Dela J Public Health 2020 Aug;6(3):22-25

PMID: 34467124

Abstract

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Delaware has implemented various strategies including a stay-at-home order, mask-wearing requirements in public places, and community-based testing to control the spread of the disease. Health systems across the U.S. have taken actions including symptom monitoring and screening for visitors and healthcare workers, providing personal protection equipment (PPE), and contact tracing of confirmed infected individuals to provide maximum possible protection for healthcare workers. Despite such efforts, there remains a significant risk of intra-hospital transmission of COVID-19. Healthcare workers who contact patients with COVID-19 or were exposed to the disease in the community may transmit the infection to coworkers in the inpatient setting. In addition to universal and case-based precautions to prevent exposure and disease transmission, contact tracing is essential to minimizing the impact of outbreaks among healthcare workers and the community. A rapid increase in cases can quickly diminish hospital infection control and prevention program capacity to perform high-quality contact tracing. This article will describe an approach using the application of social network analysis (SNA) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) to enhance the current efforts in COVID-19 contact tracings.

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